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Kansas State Football: Deuce Dominates Without the Ball - Film Review

Deuce dominated the game last Saturday both with and without the ball.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 04 Allstate Kickoff Classic - Stanford v Kansas State Photo by John Bunch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hey y’all, per usual I’m running late this week (had a little work done on my leg and lost a few days), but I’ve got a few things I want to show you before tomorrows game. Consider this an appetizer.

Deuce Vaughn, Dominating Defenses With and Without the Ball

Everyone knows what Deuce can do with the ball, but I find what he does without the ball just as fun sometimes. This play in particular made me smile. Stanford has been coached up to rightfully fear the most electric player in college football, and Coach Messingham used that to his advantage last Saturday.

Pre Snap

This is all pretty standard stuff.

Kansas State

Offensive Line - Light Blue Box - 5

Quarterback - Blue Circle - 1

Running Back - Blue Circle - 1

Wide Receiver - Yellow Circle - 3

Tight End - Green Triangle - 1

K-State is running their standard “11” personnel. That’s five linemen, one running back, one tight end, one quarterback and three wide receivers (field, boundary, and slot)


Defensive Line - Red Box - 4

Linebacker - Orange Circle - 3

Cornerback - Green Triangle - 3

Safety - Blue Triangle - 1

Stanford is in a standard 4-3 front. They’re in man coverage across the board on the wide receivers with a single deep safety. Again, pretty standard stuff.


This is a fun protection scheme utilized by Coaches Messingham and Riley and adds to the Stanford confusion on the play.

The Wildcats give the defense end a free release off the line (red box)...which is unusual. It looks like Deuce Vaughn (blue circle) is responsible for picking up the free rusher...which again would be...unusual. Instead, you get the right tackle blocking down and the left guard, Josh Rivas (blue box) pulling around and picking up the right defensive end. You’ve got to have serious faith in your left guard to run this, because if he gets caught up, or is late out of his stance, the defensive end is going to crush Skylar (or Deuce if it’s a hand off, but this is clearly a play fake and not any sort of RPO). This, in theory, allows Deuce to pretend to chip the defensive end before heading out into the flat as a receiver.

Focus on Deuce

If you want to see how terrifying Deuce Vaughn is to opposing defenses, check this out. You’ve got two Stanford linebackers (orange circle) spying on Vaughn. They’re not going to be fooled by this fake chip play. Rivas (blue box) has the defensive end cut off, and Deuce does his fake chip thing and heads into the flat, just as the Stanford linebackers suspected.

This is the danger of playing man across the board vs K-State. The two field receivers clear out the defensive backs, leaving the entire field side open for the running back release into the flats. K-State will take a linebacker trying to tackle Vaughn in space all-day-every-day.

Unfortunately for Stanford linebackers, this play uses Vaughn as a decoy. You’ll notice the tight end (green triangle) running a drag route. He’s being followed by the Stanford strong side linebacker (orange circle) cutting behind the middle and weak side linebacker.

All Eyes on Deuce

I need to know Stanford’s coverage scheme to say this definitively, but I get the feeling the strong side linebacker is supposed to pass off coverage of the crossing tight end to the weak side linebacker. Otherwise, I’m not sure why the strong side linebacker stops chasing the tight end (green triangle) and stands next to the other two linebackers. When you have three defenders in a 5 yard box, things are not going well for the defense.

The tight end continues on his drag route. Deuce (blue circle) heads out into the flats with all three Stanford defenders giving him the hairy eyeball.

Still Confused

You’ve got to feel for Stanford linebacker Ricky Miezan on this play (orange circle #45 looking at Deuce), because right now, he’s terrified that he’s going to have to try and tackle Deuce in the open field. What he doesn’t realize is the ball (labeled ball in my child like scrawl) is in the air...behind the guy I’m pretty sure he’s supposed to pick up on the cross, but Vaughn is so intimidating that he’s completely confused.

Still Extremely Confused

The tight end (Daniel Imatorbhebhe) has secured the catch and has clear lane down the sideline. The Stanford linebacker (Miezan) is still in hot pursuit of Deuce Vaughn, who does not have the ball, and even if he had the ball, the chances of Miezan catching him is about the same chance that I have to catch him, and I’m 40 and had surgery on my right calf on Thursday.

Finally Found the Ball

It’s a bit late, but the strong side linebacker (orange circle) has found the ball. I’m sure he’s relieved he no longer has to chase Deuce.

First Down Wildcats!

You won’t find an easier 17 yards in the passing game this season. Deuce opened up the Stanford defense for a big (p)ass play, and all he did was jog towards the sideline.

In Summary

Deuce will continue to get this type of attention all season. Stanford won’t be the only team caught staring at the superstar sophomore while another K-State player is running with the ball behind them.

Great design by Messingham on this play, and a solid read by Skylar to deliver the pass to the open receiver. It is tempting to try and force the ball to Deuce on this play, because he’s also wide open, but if you go back and look at Skylar releasing the ball, you’ll notice the Stanford defensive end blocking the pass to the flat.

Take the easy 17 yards all day.